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Auditory-kinesthetic synesthesia

In a message dated 5/28/2009 8:28:56 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, shannoncalandrillo@ writes:

Hello, Dr. Vicars,

I'm a music student at the Mannes College of Music in New York. I study the classical mandolin among other things and my teacher is a sign language interpreter on the side. He's told me lots of funny stories about signing and his non-hearing friends. The grammar of what he calls colloquial sign language really appeals to me because it's a lot like the way I think in my head, so I've decided to learn sign language.

... I know it's not an 'officiated' type of synesthesia, but I have auditory-kinesthetic synesthesia big time. For me it goes both ways--listening to sounds makes me feel various distinct physical sensations (some good some not), and the physical sensation of certain frequencies of sound (particularly low-frequency sounds) is pivotal to my total experience of sound. For this reason though I do feel things when I listen to recorded music it is a pale pale shadow of what I feel when I am physically present to feel the overtones and feel the bass tones through my shoes, for example.

What occurs to me is that though my hypothetical non-hearing friends might not be able to relate to the sound of somebody's voice, they might be able to relate to my (mostly) quantifiable physical experience of that voice. And maybe it will enrich their experience, or be of some amusement.

I go to a conservatory, which is decidedly not a research institution--all we do is performance. But this is something that is very important to me, and maybe when I apply to grad school I will think about doing this as a research project. I was just curious about your thoughts.

Thanks again for maintaining your site and have a good weekend!
--  Shannon Calandrillo>>


Shannon,
If I were you, I'd start with the end in mind. Now, while you might think that for an aspiring grad school student that the "end" is a thesis or dissertation. Nope.
The "end" is how are you going to apply this type of research to bringing in the income that allows you to do the things you want to do an pursue your various goals and dreams. Think in terms of "service and/or value" = "opportunity for profit." Ask yourself how is it exactly that you are going to create a product from your research that will serve the needs of people? How are you going to help them? How are you going to package that "help" in such a way as to have them want to buy it and tell all their friends about it?

I recommend you start looking for and digging up "requests for proposals" (RFPs) for grants that might fund your current and future research. Why do I say "current?" If you start referring to and thinking about yourself as a researcher right now you will engage your brains reticular activating system to notice and make available to you all kinds of resources and avenues of progress that will seem to appear as if by magic. (But which were really there all along waiting for you to notice them and put them to good use.)
There are websites out there (like http://infoed.org/ for example) that can help you track down such grant opportunities.

If you passionate about the topic, then decide right now that you are going to become the world expert on auditory-kinesthetic synesthesia and it will be your efforts (and leadership/collaboration with others) that will "officiate" (to use your phrase) that field of study.

All the while as you go about becoming this expert, keep track of your sources. Take and organize notes regarding the author, publication name, and date of publication of the information you come across. Plus include the direct, relevant quote, and a few sentences summarizing the gist of the information. Save all of this to a file and backup that file in several places (including sending it to yourself in an email on occasion). When it comes time to write and publish your dissertation the process will be a smooth, easy, and fun.
Cordially,
Dr. Bill
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